There is plenty of information on the Internet on how email marketing is a useful and profit-oriented channel for online stores. However, for a young business to start implementing it is a challenge – nobody knows you on the internet and the only emails you have, are those of your friends, family members, and the few believers you convinced at the bar the other night.

I was inspired to write this post after a few conversations with our new clients. To make my suggestions truly valid as well as look at it from different angles, I asked my competent colleagues/ experts/ different business representatives to share their insights regarding how they succeeded in reaching the first 1000 email subscribers milestone.

Obviously, to get email subscribers for your brand new online store, you need two things:

  1.    To get traffic to your store.
  2.    To make visitors sign up and leave their email addresses.

These things are worthless without one another. Generated traffic will be worthless in terms of gathering contacts if your website does not offer visitors the chance to sign up anywhere. On the other hand, with having plenty of subscription forms ready and no traffic, you will be waiting for your first 1000 email subscribers for years.

Get the traffic to your store

  1. Optimize your store for search engines.

You have probably heard about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is a set of techniques that increases the opportunities of your online store to be high up the search results in Google and other search engines. Personally, I am learning SEO from Moz.com. This tool contains guidelines for SEO beginners as well as support for those at an advanced level. These guys know what they are talking about. My favorite is Rand Fishkin and his Whiteboard Friday lessons.

Secondly, do a keyword research of your business area. Use online tools like Google Keyword Planner, Keywordtool.io, or Semrush.com to find the trending keywords, competition for that keyword, number of searches per month as well as keywords that are targeted by your competitors. Once you have a clear picture of the best keywords for driving traffic to your store, put them in tags, titles, links, and products descriptions.

“The return on keyword research is massive. Not only will you learn about the language you need to be using to drive traffic to your target group, you’ll gain valuable insight into whether you have a well-defined target audience at all. You’ll also probably discover some low-hanging fruit for landing pages or blog posts that will get you your first relevant organic search traffic.”

Andrus Purde –  Author of the blog about marketing and startups – PURDE.NET

Keep in mind that SEO does not work immediately. It can take weeks until the results of your optimization will be noticeable.

  1. Create content around your store.

Make your brand visible. Be active on social media. Pick the social network where your audience is hanging out. This can be done only by testing – dedicating time to focusing on the network and trying to find out whether it works or not. Ensure you have a good presence and a clear profile with links to your products, updates, related fun, etc.

Add a link to your store in the email signature. Be active on professional/amateur forum discussions such as Reddit “Small business” and Quora.com and add your link next to your name or include it to your bio.

For example

soundest-email-subscribers1

Content marketing is trending right now and creates a long-term effect. According to Heidi Cohen, writing on content marketing stats, 72% of all B2C marketers say they do content marketing. The top metrics to measure content marketing success are website traffic (62%), increasing sales (54%), higher conversion rates (39%), and SEO ranking (39%).

Do some research and find out which popular bloggers could write about your products, and contact them and make a deal. Also, consider creating your own blog.

“For us, content marketing is the best organic driver for traffic. By creating fresh, high-quality content in various channels such as blogs, social media, and emails, we have grown our subscriber list from 0 to 17,000+ within a year. During the first years of a startup in the e-Commerce industry, content probably matters the most in driving organic leads. As in our case, it takes us tones of testing to find out which types of content works best for our business. Source tracking and analytics are two must-have tools to help us do this challenging but valuable task. Really, until now, 75% of my job in Beeketing has involved content marketing and I am getting email and blog subscribers every single day. Start doing content for your store now by researching your customers’ preferences, feed them with excellent stuff to read, and they will surely become your life-long subscribers. Cheers to content marketing!”

Daisy Ng – Content Marketing Manager @Beeketing A Marketing Apps Platform for Online Stores.

The blackest but quickest way to generate traffic to your landing page is to announce a simple contest which people can easily participate in. Invite people to the signup page where they have to subscribe to take part. In this way, keep in mind that most of the contacts are more interested in the prize than in your brand. Because of the lack of engagement, it might cause a big unsubscribe rate later. So you shouldn’t do it repeatedly.

Make visitors sign up and leave their email addresses

Since people have started to discover your store, grab them!

“Make an effort in order that first-time visitors become subscribers and then subscribers become buyers. The longer you wait the less chance you have of making these transitions possible. There are many different signup forms appearing in different places and moments on your online store that catch visitors’ attention. Offer a discount for their first purchase or give them extra value. From the reviews we receive, I can say that pop-ups with small discounts bring the best results.”  – Rytis Lauris, CEO of Soundest.

Perhaps a little controversial, but an extremely interesting opinion is expressed by the experienced Tomas Laurinavičius, the blogger and founder of Despreneur.

“I’d like to remind you about the importance of building your email list from day one; you can have hundreds or thousands of followers/fans on social media networks but you won’t really ‘own’ them. In comparison, an email subscriber has given you the permission to contact him/her at any time directly. You don’t want to waste too much of your energy on vanity metrics. Do the following:

  1. Find an easy-to-use software for capturing leads and managing subscribers.
  2. Provide value. Think of a short value proposition instead of using a generic “Get free updates” statement. Think of something that could bring value and make your visitors curious. Check out these two great examples from Groove and Noah Kagan.

 

groove-1024x576

 

noah-1024x443

  1. Always use data and A/B testing. There is an enormous amount of information available online on different email marketing blogs like SumoMe and some others like Backlinko and HubSpot. More than that, utilize your own website data gathered using analytics software of your choice. Test the value proposition, imagery, wording, and timing to get better results. SumoMe allows you to run multiple A/B tests, if you are looking for alternatives to SumoMe, check out OptinMonster or Leadin.

I hope some of these tips will help you as it took me quite some time to figure out how to get more subscribers. Be consistent and hard working and you will start seeing results very quickly.”

Recently, I found one more interesting source on the web – How to make a website: Beginner’s Guide to Get a Small Business Online. It also covers some parts of the discussed above and in-depth explains e-commerce website creation if you do it on your own.

Final word

So, in this post we covered core things necessary for online businesses to generate signups – a keyword research, optimization for the search engines, brand visibility and acknowledgement on social media, popular forums and blogs as well as technical ways to capture the leads once you’ve got adequate traffic. Like I already said at the beginning – one part without the other is worthless. So focus on business promotion and signup forms optimization at your store.

Big thanks to the experts

Andrus Purde – Blogger at Purde.net, Skype alumni, currently Head of Marketing at Pipedrive. A proud investor in Taxify and Soundest.

Daisy Ng – Content Marketing Manager at Beeketing. She’s also manager of Beeketing Blog. Beeketing is dedicating to grow sales for conversion rates with online stores, by providing marketing automation apps.

Rytis Lauris – Entrepreneur, Co-founder and CEO of Soundest | eCommerce Email Marketing.

Tomas Laurinavicius is a designer, blogger, entrepreneur and adventurer from Lithuania. He’s a founder of Despreneur and co-author of Mobile Design Book. Currently traveling the world with a mission to help 1 million people to change their lifestyles for good.

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Karolina Jasvinaitė Petraškienė

is a digital communicator, content marketeer and email enthusiast at Soundest. Follow on Twitter.